A stroll around the small part of Hong Kong in the immediate vicinity of the hotel offered the following sights:
- Flowers being braided into huge arching hoops at streetside florists, huddled under the overhang of the mighty banking and hotel empires
- A small funeral party pacing quietly along the street, many of their number dressed in the white of mourning.
On the MTR, Hong Kong's take on London's Tube there are a surprising number of public-spirited signs, and a great many prohibitive ones. And many of the prohibitions are helpfully indicated by signs whose diagrammatic delight was a joy to behold.
Between the signs for the suicide prevention hotline, or those encouraging readers to report corruption or cover their germy coughs with face masks. Or even "Show you have a loving heart; give up your seat to anyone who needs it." Between all of these are the fine notices and admonishments:
- No spitting
- No smoking (fine $1500)
- No skate-biking (glorious!)
- No eating or drinking in paid areas.
Even the bins are signed - a $1500 fine for putting anything other than cigarettes in the ashtray. Or for placing ones non-recyclable rubbish in a recycling container - or vice versa.
The MTR, by the way, doesn't really bear comparison with the Tube; it's far more designed than the gloriously organic sprawl of the Tube. It's also a great deal cleaner, more air-conditioned, more helpfully bi-lingual in signs and announcements and advice. And just a tiny bit soulless as a result.